Connect with us

For The Culture

White Power to the People: The Gentrification of Protests

mm

Published

on

We all know that media framing of news events almost always privileges Whiteness. The privileging of Whiteness while simultaneously marginalizing other cultures is not a new concept. From the time of Black enslavement until the present day, the dominant pattern of White representation through media has been skewed to maintain the superiority and dominance of Whites. Historically, media tailored its content to White audiences, stressing the racial hierarchal structure of American culture, while ignoring or trivializing the experiences and history of people of color.

Embed from Getty Images

Nowhere has this been more clear than in the recent coverage of the Florida student gun law protests. I want to be very clear that this is not a critique of the Florida students; I am so proud of their determination to effect some real change, and I am angry that these kids have been forced to become activists. All I cared about in high school was talking my parents into a new pair of sneakers and some Gap jeans to go with it. I admire the moxie of these kids.

And while I admire them, I would be remiss to ignore the stark difference in the way media cover the Florida teens’ protests as compared to the protest of the young people in Baltimore or Ferguson. The Florida students are framed on The NY Times, Washington Post, CNN and every other major media outlet (minus the ones tucked up Trump’s ass) as heroes. Their stories are written with empathy. Their protest is given legitimacy (as it should be). It is valued in a way that the protests of the Baltimore and Ferguson young people’s protests were not.

Perhaps it’s the cause. Police brutality is far more likely to affect people of color while a spree shooter’s bullet ain’t got no name on it. Perhaps it’s because these Florida students employed the tactics of our Civil Rights Movement faves marching for freedom; Oprah even compared them to the Freedom Riders of the 60s, whose social justice initiatives were also rooted in maintaining the respectability and docility of Black people. Black rage isn’t respectable.

When the Black kids in Baltimore, who have for generations, lived under the oppressive boot of the overtly corrupt police department (see Korryn Gaines family is awarded $37 million in damages or Baltimore’s Gun Trace Task Force found guilty of robbery and racketeering if you don’t believe me) rise up, well, the story goes a little differently.

I was born and raised in Baltimore, and I can attest to the corruption of officers since forever. The young people in Baltimore live in communities where police officers routinely harass them and their parents and their friends and their grandmothers and uncles and cousins for being in a Black community walking down the street; there is nothing they can do about it. Young women who are raped and sexually assaulted don’t bother reporting it because rape kits sit unopened and unexamined for years. As a Black person in Baltimore, you can have poverty, classrooms with no heat in freezing temperatures, low paying jobs, and segregated communities, but you can’t have justice or fair coverage on local media.

Perhaps it’s the cause. Police brutality is far more likely to affect people of color while a spree shooter’s bullet ain’t got no name on it. Click To Tweet

During the April 2015 uprising in Baltimore, the footage that dominated media were the burning CVS and the kids pummeling a car. The “riot” spanned a two-block radius, but the way the media covered it, you would think the entire city was burning. The media did not cover the events of the following day when young people all over the city went to the Westside community to clean up. They also did not cover the number of young people who became community advocates and activists as a result, working within the community to provide resources that are simply not available to them.

Perhaps the coverage is different because Baltimore’s young protestors are Black, and Florida’s protestors are mostly White (at least that’s how the media are covering it).

So, while I am happy that the Florida students have decided to join together, with the unwavering and very vocal support of Oprah, to elicit some change in this country around gun laws, it also feels bittersweet because I know the kids in Baltimore who were fighting just as hard as the kids in Florida won’t get the same empathy nor a $500,000 donation from Oprah Winfrey.

 

Comments

comments

Advertisement
Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

For The Culture

Seven Year Old Dies in Border Patrol Custody

mm

Published

on

ICE detainees

In a devastating development, a 7-year-old Guatemalan girl has died in the care of Border Patrol. Until autopsy results confirm her cause of death, Americans are left with more questions than answers.

Seizures

A group of 163 migrants attempted to cross the border illegally and were then apprehended in New Mexico. Among them were the victim and her father. Shortly after their detainment, the group was transported to a facility in El Paso, Texas. It was there that the 7-year-old began having seizures within hours of being in Border Patrol custody. Claiming “Border Patrol agents took every possible step to save the child’s life”, the CBP is now under investigation.

Fever, Dehydration

Initially reported by The Washington Post, emergency responders measured her temperature at 105.7 Fahrenheit, just two degrees shy of incurring brain damage. A Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency statement indicated the child “had not eaten or consumer water for several days”. Needing further care, emergency responders called for a helicopter transport to Providence Children’s Hospital, where the child went into cardiac arrest. She was “revived” but ultimately could not recover, passing at the hospital less than 24 hours after arriving for treatment.

Facing blame from the ACLU, CBP has been called out for a “lack of accountability, and a culture of cruelty.” Offering nothing but their “sincerest condolences”, CBP will continue to draw the scrutiny of the public as this is the second death of a child in their care. A toddler passed six weeks after being released from an ICE facility. Having contracted a respiratory infection from receiving poor medical care, the toddler’s mother is not suing for the loss of her child.

Political Outrage

Government officials have since spoken out about the tragedy. Beto O’Rourke has called for full transparency in the investigation of the child’s death. Congressman Joaquin Castro also asked for a full investigation by the Inspector General and Congress. Without autopsy results that could take weeks to receive, the country is talking about ways we can do better as a nation. As a country, we’re holding out hope we can rise from this humanitarian crisis.

Comments

comments

Continue Reading

For The Culture

Where is Justice for Cyntoia?

mm

Published

on

Cyntoia Brown

Time and time again we have seen the justice system fail Black people in America. This week, its victim is Cyntoia Brown.

The Tennessee Supreme Court has ruled that Cyntoia Brown must remain in prison for 51 years before she is eligible for release. This news comes as a response to a lawsuit that states Brown’s life sentence is unconstitutional. Violating the U.S. Constitution, a mandatory life sentence without parole is still what Cyntoia faces with judgment requiring imprisonment until the age of 69.

Having run away from home, Cyntoia, 16, was living with a pimp named “Kut Throat,” who abused her and forced her into the life. He was 24 at the time. After days of being drugged and sexually assaulted by various men, Cyntoia was passed off yet again. Purchased by Johnny Allen, a 43-year-old child predator, Cyntoia found her limit. She killed her abuser but has not received the same justice many women in her position have found.

Justice only comes in one color

As children, we grew up hearing stories about women like Francine Hughes, famous for the Burning Bed. A battered housewife, Francine set her husband on fire as he slept, freeing herself and her children from his tyranny. The prosecution and the defense agreed her plight was sympathetic. She was found not guilty.

In June 2016, a woman killed her husband in an argument over another woman. As punishment, she will serve one year in jail and 9 years on community corrections. In his judgment, Criminal Court Judge Stacy Street said:

“The lack of remorse in this case concerns me so much that I think Ms. Delaney needs to be reminded of what she has done, what she has taken from her children and from the victim’s family. I’m ordering her to serve 30 days in jail every June beginning June 1 through June 30 for the entire 10-year sentence.”

The modification of her judgment came out of concern for her high-risk pregnancy. What a luxury! Just Friday, new broke that New York City police officers forced a 27-year-old woman to give birth shackled to a hospital bed, in full violation of state law. The privilege of justice in this country only comes in one shade.

At this moment, there is a petition urging the judge hearing Cyntoia’s case to grant her clemency. It currently has 500,000 signatures but needs 1.1 million. I encourage everyone touched by her story and seeking justice for her to sign.

Comments

comments

Continue Reading

For The Culture

Charlottesville Driver Could Face 419 Years

mm

Published

on

James Alex Fields Jr Charlottesville Driver

Charlottesville driver, James Alex Fields Jr., could face life in prison plus 419 years. The sentence was recommended by jurors this afternoon.

Fields stands convicted of killing Heather Heyer, who was in a group of counterprotesters during the 2017 rally. Mowing through the crows, Fields has racked up five malicious wounding charges and one charge of leaving the scene of the accident. Jurors made their recommendation after listening to statements from Heather’s mother as well as those who were injured.

Deliberations took roughly four hours over two days, the jurors presented the judge with their decision. However, the judge will not formally sentence the driver until March 2019. On top of the 419-year sentence, the jurors also recommended $480,000 in fines.

Comments

comments

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending